“We Like to Write No-Brainers from the Heart,” and Other Quotable Gems: Anti Ritual Interviewed

With 17 billion bands, labels and PR people all clamouring for a piece of the attention pie, it sometimes gets to the point where you want to grab a small stack of classics and go stick your head in the proverbial sand of that deserted desert island people claim to be listening to their favourite albums while stranded on. But there’s always good and great out there, you just have to take the time to find it, even if it involves utilising an oddball method or really dumb reason. Like how I came to discover, and subsequently become a fan of, Denmark’s Anti Ritual. Jacob at Indisciplinarian Records sent me a heads-up on the band, I took one look at their logo and thought, “This is either going to be awesomely terrible or terribly awesome!” Turns out the band’s brand of blackened crusty sludge (the description of which sounds like something you would otherwise be on the horn to Roto-Rooter about) of their self-titled, debut EP is pretty top notch, so I tracked down vocalist Marco Malcorps and broke bread and conversation with him over email.
Ok, tell us about the history of Anti Ritual. Your bio says the band’s members all have roots and experience in the Copenhagen hardcore scene: how so and with whom? Shed some light on the situation for those of us who’ve never been anywhere near Copenhagen, ever.
The other three guys have known each other for some years now playing in different bands together. Recent projects for the band members are Rising, The Kandidate, Saturnus and Parasight and I played crust and powerviolence in bands such as Shitcomet and Ukrudt. We’ve all been around in the Copenhagen scene for a good while. The punk/hardcore scene has been good for years and the metal scene is getting quite on its way too. I guess we’re a good mixture of both.

You guys mix a good number of extreme sub-genres in the creation of your own sound. When Anti Ritual formed, was there a specific direction in sound you wanted to head in? How did Anti Ritual end up as Anti Ritual?
A common denominator for the four of us is passion. We’re playing this music because not playing it doesn’t seem like an option. This project has elements of genres that we’ve all touched upon before, but to my knowledge, it’s the first time we’re involved in something that mixes all these things together. That, however, is not the point. We’re not trying to cram every style we haven’t gone all the way into into one band. If that was the case, you could expect our next record to be a calypso/neo-folk/Motown/goregrind pile of absolute ass. Our sound is more the result of what happens when our collective creative input is pooled. It fits our various tempers and ambitions to play this blistering bastard of hardcore, black metal and sludge. There is simply no other way our music could sound.

Has exploring and incorporating other sub-genres of music thrown up any stumbling blocks while writing songs, especially when experimenting with styles you may be fans of, but have less experience actually playing?
No, not at all. The songs just came out of a need to do something like this, the basic structures and the overall feel and style of the songs poured out very quickly. We like to write no-brainers from the heart without having to construct things too much. If it works, we keep on pounding it – if not, on we go.

Your lyrics have been described as “harsh critiques of the structures of modern society.” What are you critiquing and what moves you the most to the point you’d write a song about it?
What moves me the most to write a song is my heartfelt anger. I know it sounds like a cliché, but what drives me to pen our lyrics is the feeling of wanting to lay waste to my surroundings. An example: Last week a cop here attacked a man in a wheelchair because he was yelling at him. The cop took a man who is paralyzed from the waist down and threw him onto the ground and proceeded to leave him there, full well knowing that the man was unable to get up by himself. Stuff like that makes me burn with rage, and so, instead of wandering into the street and savagely stabbing the first cop I come across, I can let out some of that rage by channeling it into lyrics (hint: an Anti Ritual song about police brutality and the privilege of power is in the works). On the other hand, I think some of my teenage heroes, Satanic Surfers, said it really good: “I could write a thousand songs about my anger but it wouldn’t change a thing in this world. I know that for a fact but it makes me feel a whole lot better, that’s why I do this in the first place”. I’m not trying to start a revolution here. I’m just trying not to lose my shit and go on a murderous rampage.

What can you tell us about the recording of the EP? How long did it take? Where did you do it? Did anyone spill coffee on the recording console?
We recorded most of the record over the course of a few days in our rehearsal space with ourselves producing. KB, our bass player, has it set up as a studio and he’s real good with this kind of stuff. He records for shitloads of bands out there. We didn’t spill any coffee. We did however consume vast amounts of it (we’re not in our 20’ies anymore so we’re running on caffeine, sugar and pure unfiltered hatred).

When you decided to create the band’s logo, what happened: did someone go on a Etch-a-Sketch bender?
We went over a couple of different options, but in the end our drummer Niko, who works as a graphic designer when not pounding drums, had an idea that he wanted to try out. So he did and voila. As for whether or not the process involved an Etch-a-Sketch, I don’t know. I do know however that it involved the sacrifice of a horde of well-fed venture capitalists to our lord who slumbers in his house in R’lyeh. And coffee. Always the coffee.

There doesn’t seem to be much of an Anti Ritual presence online. I thought I was the last remaining Facebook hold-out in the western world; so I can respect that, but I’m not trying to promote a band (or stalk ex-girlfriends or track down all the losers I went to high school with). Is your lack of web presence a deliberate thing?
Yes, it’s deliberate. Though social media has made a lot of things much easier for bands on the rise, it can also sometime become just another menial task to be dealt with. “Sooner or later, the things you own end up owning you” as Palahniuk puts it. Having to constantly maintain a profile on, say, Facebook is simply a task that we didn’t think was worth our time. This is, as I said, at project born of passion (as a band should be) and as such we felt it was a good idea to focus simply on that.

Once the EP is out, what’s the plan? Is there a plan? Is there a full-length in the works?
Well, when we formed the band the only plan was to write some songs, record a record and see what would happen. Through the process though, the whole project kind of grew on us. As such, when the recording process was finished, we kind of agreed that this was not to be the last the world would hear of us. However, most of us have other musical projects to attend to as well so as for when/what and all that, nothing is sure right now. Personally, I can name a few bands that I’d like to do a split 7″ with in the near future, but whether or not that happens, remains to be seen.

Interested? Check ’em out and/or buy Anti Ritual here.